Washington Co. bridges need repair, funding - KPTV - FOX 12

Washington Co. bridges need repair, funding

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Dozens of bridges in Washington County are in need of repair or replacement, but county officials say patching them up is all they can do with their current funding.

Andy Duyk, Chairman of the Washington County Board of Commissioners, said inflation rates on construction and road maintenance have increased faster than the normal rate of inflation, leaving the county in a tough spot.

"While our budget has increased over those years, we have not kept pace with the maintenance needs," Duyk outlined.

At the same time, trucks that cross the bridges are heavier than they've ever been, but the bridges aren't designed to carry the increased loads.

"So what we're seeing now is deterioration which we weren't expecting before and we hadn't seen before," county engineer Todd Watkins explained.

To keep up with the repairs, Watkins said the county needs about a million dollars a year. However, the annual budget for bridge repairs is roughly half that, funded primarily through the county's gas tax.

To increase funding, commissioners could ask voters to approve tax or fee increases, but Duyk said he's hoping for help at the state level.

"We're hoping the state legislature will pass a comprehensive transportation package that will deal with all modes of transportation," he said.

A proposed transportation bill didn't make it through last year's legislative short session. The issue is expected to come up for discussion again during the regular session of the legislature in 2017.

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